Law Tips

7 Things Lawyers Should Know About Artificial Intelligence

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AI is here to make practicing law easier, so keep these things in mind if you’re thinking of implementing it in your practice.

If you’re thinking about implementing artificial intelligence (AI) into your legal organization, congratulations on being a forward thinker. Although … it’s actually not as forward thinking as it may seem. AI is no longer the nebulous, otherworldly techno-universe that you many have once envisioned. It’s already here, today, giving us directions, telling us jokes, recommending music, answering our questions, generally making our jobs – and lives – easier. Here are seven things to keep in mind about AI as you prepare to implement it in your legal organization:

1. It’s all about the data.
Artificial intelligence is built on data. Therefore, the effectiveness of an AI solution can only be as good as the accuracy of the data it is relying on. That’s why you can’t just decide to “do AI.” You first have to identify the problem you are trying to solve, then take a look at the data (for example, electronic billing data or case and matter management data from a matter management system) to see if it’s “clean” or if it needs some data hygiene.

2. AI is not just one technology.
If you’re searching for the next big thing in AI, you’re not going to find it. AI is not a singular thing. There’s no “killer” AI app for the legal industry. Instead, there are AI applications in many areas of the legal industry, and each of those applications might use a different AI-related technology.

3. It’s not magic, it’s just software. 
While the term artificial intelligence has a mystic, futuristic aura about it, in reality it’s basically just computer software. Sure, it’s software created by really smart technology engineers and product developers who integrate complicated algorithms to compute calculations … but in the end, it’s just one of the tools legal professionals have at their disposal to help them work more efficiently.

4. AI can help you run a business.
It’s the business side of being a lawyer where AI technologies are most helpful. Legal organizations have the same kind of business processes as any type of business, such as billing, pricing, and marketing, etc. Most of those processes involve numbers and data (prices, margins, budgets, expenses, etc.). And remember, it’s all about the data, so all of these business processes can be analyzed and managed with the help of AI technologies.

5. AI does not replace humans, it assists them.
Attorneys are not going to become obsolete, replaced by robots. Sure, AI solutions can take in the data and make predictions or suggest likely outcomes, but those predictions are of varying degrees of certainty. And the conclusions may be based on inaccurate data. That’s where human lawyers come in. They evaluate the data, draw upon past experiences that may or may not be part of the data, and generate their own answers, predictions, and advice – all informed by (not determined by) artificial intelligence.

6. Adopting AI means embracing change.
If you intend to implement AI technologies into your legal organization, you must be ready for change.
Not only will your processes and workflows need to change to incorporate AI into the business, but you’ll also likely be working with a whole new set of people. Whether they are part of your firm or outside consultants, expect to collaborate with data analysts, process engineers, pricing specialists, and other data-driven professionals.

7. Clients will drive your need for AI. 
Speaking of collaboration, AI can also be a catalyst for collaboration between a law firm and its clients. For starters, clients’ needs will often drive the adoption of AI solutions. And in many cases, it’s the clients who have the data needed to build effective AI solutions.

About Sharon Kid